[AMRadio] Re: IARU bandplan

D. Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Thu Oct 11 11:02:48 EDT 2007

Steve WD8DAS wrote:

> A number of folks who found the IARU bandplan OK, and support restrictive
> band plans, have written to me saying "the bands are so crowded we've got 
> to do
> something!"
> I must disagree.  I passively listen to the MF and HF bands at least ten
> hours a week, and actively operate about an additional ten hours, and I do 
> not
> find the bands particularly crowded.  And the interference issues that I 
> do
> overhear are usually caused by one of two things:  either deliberate 
> jamming and
> harrassment, or a shift in propagation brings QSOs that were previously 
> unheard
> to each other into conflict.  It is rarely a matter of too many hams on 
> the
> bands...
 > Again, I feel it is vital that we err on the side of flexibility and less
> restrictions, rather than more and tighter controls that eliminate future
> choices.  If we are to remain viable as an organized hobby we've got to be 
> open to a
> wide variety of modes, both old and new.

I good point.  About the only time this is a problem is during contests, 
particularly SSB qrmtests.  I have observed the past few years that the 
congestion on the bands has gone way down, compared to 70's and 80's. 
Probably mainly to the lack of newcomers, and I don't see that changing 
significantly any time soon, no matter how much they dumb down the entry 
requirements.  Just not that many new people interested in HF radio these 
days, especially younger people.

And with the recent expansion of phone privileges the congestion has 
decreased even further.

Even Johnny Johnston, when he was with the FCC, came around to the point of 
view that bandwidth regulation should be kept vague, to maintain the maximum 
flexibility for amateur experimentation and communication.

>>That's just not the best plan. IARU can do better.

> I urge you to tell that to the ARRL  - they need the feedback!  When I
> offered my views, Dave Sumner wrote back that I was wrong, the plan was 
> not
> restrictive and limiting, and anyway it is voluntary.  He implied that 
> since it was
> voluntary I need not worry about it.  But as you and I both pointed out,
> voluntary plans have a way of becoming very powerful, nearly to the point 
> of
> regulation if the regulating body decides so.

Plus that sends out a mixed message.  First, that there is a Region 2 
bandplan, of which the US and Canada are part, and that this plan calls for 
limitations on bandwidth, and use of AM on only two narrow segments of 
75/80, and no operation on 160, 40 or other bands except for 10 metres, but 
secondly, since it is only a voluntary suggestion, no-one has to comply with 
it.  If that is the case, what is the purpose of having a band plan in the 
first place?

Why would there even be bandwidth limits suggested in a band plan anyway?  A 
band plan is voluntary allocation of the various modes, segregation that is 
not spelt out in the regulations.  It is sufficent to say that bandwidth 
should not exceed a reasonable figure for the mode used, or that a signal 
should not have excessive bandwidth due to spurious distortion products in 
the sidebands.

I suspect the "bandwidth" provisions in this band plan may be part of a 
conditioning exercise with the goal of getting the amateur community to 
accept the segmentation-by-bandwidth concept.

> Here are some useful email addresses:  dsumner at arrl.org, w5zn at arrl.org,
> n3kn at arrl.org, K5UR at arrl.org, W6ROD at arrl.org, W4RI at arrl.org, k1ce at arrl.net
> I also wrote to my ARRL Division representatives as shown at
> http://www.arrl.org/divisions/
If you are an ARRL member, be sure to send one to your own division 
director.  We want this brought to the attention of every director, with 
multiple letters from different members going to each.  They need to get the 
message that it is not just one or two people raising a lot of fuss.  They 
got the message regarding the Bandwidth petition to the FCC.

I would advise actually printing out the letters and sending them via USPS, 
rather than simply e-mailing them.  I suspect hard copy mail has a greater 
impact.  Or at least forward a hard copy as a follow-up to the e-mail that 
was sent.

Don k4kyv

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